Fairfield reacted to the overdose crisis by forming this victim-focused team

Fairfield's QRT makes dozens of home visits a year to people who have overdosed. In 2018, out of 37 home visits, a counselor spoke with 25 addicts and nine entered some type of treatment. MICHAEL D. PITMAN/STAFF
Caption
Fairfield's QRT makes dozens of home visits a year to people who have overdosed. In 2018, out of 37 home visits, a counselor spoke with 25 addicts and nine entered some type of treatment. MICHAEL D. PITMAN/STAFF

Credit: Michael D. Pitman

Credit: Michael D. Pitman

Fairfield is not the hardest-hit community when it comes to drug overdoses, but the city still has seen dozens of its residents die since 2015.

Nearly 60 of the 778 people who died from a drug overdose in Butler County from 2015-18 did so in Fairfield, and 40 of those were Fairfield residents.

ExploreBEHIND THE SCENES: How Butler County teams help overdose victims find needed help

In response, the city formed its quick response team, and last year it made 37 home visits to attempt to contact people who overdosed, according to the QRT. A counselor made contact with 25 of those 37 addicts, and nine are in some type of treatment program, said Victoria Hensley, a care counselor with the Butler County Heroin Hopeline, which is part of One City Against Heroin.

 

“It seems low but when someone’s using for some long, just to get the interaction is so huge; to get them receptive to get them even talking with me, and then accepting the referrals, I think it’s awesome,” she said.

There are no goals or target numbers for the QRT or Hensley. If one live is saved, the program is worth it, according to the team, which consists of a Hensley, Fairfield police Maj. Greg Valandingham and Fairfield Deputy Fire Chief Tom Wagner.

“I think it’s worth our time to follow up on all the (calls),” Wagner said.

Valandingham said it’s fulfilling the city’s mission to serve people.

“You’re not always looking at from an enforcement standpoint, or showing up when somebody’s had an accident or a medical emergency,” he said. “It’s an opportunity to educate people and hopefully head off some future issues. Rather than being reactive all the time we’re being proactive.”

Out of the 57 drug-related deaths in Fairfield, 46 were opioid-related.

Caption
Fairfield's QRT makes dozens of home visits a year to people who have overdosed. In 2018, out of 37 home visits, a counselor spoke with 25 addicts and nine entered some type of treatment. MICHAEL D. PITMAN/STAFF

Credit: Michael D. Pitman

Fairfield's QRT makes dozens of home visits a year to people who have overdosed. In 2018, out of 37 home visits, a counselor spoke with 25 addicts and nine entered some type of treatment. MICHAEL D. PITMAN/STAFF
Caption
Fairfield's QRT makes dozens of home visits a year to people who have overdosed. In 2018, out of 37 home visits, a counselor spoke with 25 addicts and nine entered some type of treatment. MICHAEL D. PITMAN/STAFF

Credit: Michael D. Pitman

Credit: Michael D. Pitman

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